Continues from bootloader hell, part 2
I miss Slackware. A lot.
The problem is, I can't remember anything of what I learned all those years ago.
I also refuse to use a distribution that has such a glaring single point of failure. Slackware has (or had, when I switched) a benevolent dictator, and that concept has always really worried me. The initial reason I appreciated the open source concept was that other developers could pick up the software and improve it.
Of course, in reality that doesn't happen and there are a lot of really terrific programs which are out of date. LILO is one example. (2013-07-01 update: The recent 24.0 mentions a documentation update, yay!)
There are some other programs which I could go and motivate the developer to help with, and I've done that. There are even some programs which I could hire a programmer to help with, and I've done that too. (Hello, Twibright Links, are you listening?). I also like the recent "code bounty" concept, although - and I'll put this in an inappropriately harsh manner - I really dislike that programmers don't man up and continue to improve their software.
Mind you, I really can't fault a developer. I can't imagine whipping something up on a drunken bet one weekend back in college, and then somehow finding myself stuck with improving and supporting it for the rest of my life. So there does have to be a way for things to be left to die if they're not handed off or taken over. Still, when a program is damned good and nobody seems to care that it goes stale.. that pisses me off on so many levels. Lilo is the example. It's so awesome, it's kindof "done", and yet it's gone stale and nobody cares to pick it up.
There are some cases of a benevolent dictator being just fine, especially when the software is pretty much "done". Your favourite text editor doesn't need any updates if it's working perfectly for your needs. Some software is unfortunately not like that, like Firefox or other internet-related software which always have to be improved because they aren't "done" and because security issues always keep being found. Actually, that kindof sounds like a fundamental flaw in planning to me. I bet there are programmers out there who'd hate me for saying that, like I'm some kind of back seat programmer.
There are also cases where all the competition is so lacking that a project with a benevolent dictator is the only reasonable choice. For me, PCLinuxOS is a primary example. All the competition was so lacking, and I cannot stress this enough, SO LACKING that PCLinuxOS was not only better, it was the fucking nectar of the gods.
So when a benevolent dictator like Texstar is pouring that nectar into a distribution, it's kind of an exception.
Mind you, this godlike status only existed for me because at the time all other distributions were trash. Heck, I was even able to reproducible-y and irrecoverably ruin a vanilla Debian installation. Nothing is safe from me. Nothing.
Nowadays there are so many brilliant people, so many amazing projects and communities and so much fantastic core software that excellence is just "out there". This truly is the golden era of Linux distributions. Well, from "I wonder what rate my monitor should be set to?" to automatic configuration.. it's impressive to me at least.
At any rate.
I mean seriously. Every piece of GNU software I've ever been forced to use has been a usability disaster. The only way any of it can be used is if a frontend is designed for it -- and preferably designed by a non-GNU programmer. You know, someone who's actually met a user before.
But having said that, gcc is my god. Everything made only for programmers is fantastic. Fantastic because programmers can do magical things, and fantastic because I don't have to use it. I just wish all the other "user" programs were completely replaced by new projects.
I mean, using GNU "user" software is like those schools that still have that bright blue-green oxidized copper-like paint on their doors. I don't care how fresh the coat of paint is, it's still an offensive colour that went out of style the moment it was first dreamed up.
Argh. I could go on. What was I writing about again? Oh yeah, Grub sucking.
Well let's go to the beginning and talk about some other software sucking.
Back in bootloader hell, part 2, I was continuing a story of how my mangled bootloader and other odd problems were making my life suck and my blog great. Well I decided to pick up some rescue CDs. I had a bunch of CDRWs and decided to boldly make use of them.
Well, it really started with my wanting to try gujin out. It looks to be a capable bootloader alternative. But let's jump ahead a little..
Ultimate Boot CD ∞
I also downloaded Slax 6.1.0, but I didn't have a need to test it. I'll keep it around.
VectorLinux didn't do it for me. I can't explain it, but I just didn't want to download it. It does feel completely commercial and overweight to me.
If I had to do this over again, I would definitely have gone through some other small distributions. Taking a look at the selection, there are some very interesting distributions that I didn't even know about. If I wanted to pick something long-term and updated there are several very popular distributions which I would definitely have rejected.
I just don't need/want to do this kind of research right now. I don't really intend to keep a slim distribution as my mistress. My intention would be to make sure that some variation of either TinyME (or whatever it gets named) or some other branch from Unity Linux gets made. With LILO.
Unless someone out there can get me an alternate to Lilo, it looks like I'm going to continue using it. Preferably with a Slackware-based mini/rescue LiveCD distribution.